For Zelda Williams, honoring the anniversary of the death of her father Robin Williams is a private event. The actress posted a statement on Twitter and her Instagram stories Monday announcing that she would be absent from the platform on Tuesday, the sixth anniversary of the comedian’s death. Zelda Williams went on to list contact information for organizations that offer support for people struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health issues. Her father died by suicide after struggling with mental health issues brought on by complications from Lewy body dementia.
Tuesday, August 11 marked the sixth anniversary of Robin Williams’ death. Zelda’s message encouraged people to seek help if they need it, especially if they came to her social media page in an effort to feel close to the late star. “If you find yourself in crisis and seek out this page hoping to be close to him somehow please, use any of the following resources if you find you need them. Whoever out there needs to hear it, please use this as your signpost in the desert. Reach out. Seek help. Keep fighting,” she wrote.
While I am constantly touched by all of your boundless continued love for him, some days it can feel a bit like being seen as a roadside memorial — a place, not a person — where people drive past and leave their sentiments to then go about their days comforted their love for him was witnessed. But sometimes that leaves me emotionally buried under a pile of others’ memories instead of my own. After all even roses by the truckload still weigh a ton. — Zelda Willaims
The Frontlines: Suicide is complicated and can’t be attributed to a single cause, but Williams struggled with the effects of the neurodegenerative disease Lewy body dementia, which brought on paranoia, confusion, anxiety, and tremors, according to Scientific American. Lewy body dementia impacts about 1.4 million people in the U.S., according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, and is the second most common form of dementia.
- Lewy body dementia is caused by protein deposits developing in nerve cells in the brain regions which govern thinking, memory and movement
- Symptoms of Lewy body dementia may include changes in reasoning, confusion, Parkinson-like movement, visual hallucination, delusions, trouble interpreting visual information, sleep problems, memory loss, and nervous system problems regulating automatic functions (heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, respiration)
- Traditional antipsychotic medications often prescribed for people with other forms of dementia are not recommended for people with Lewy body dementia because of the different way the disease impacts the brain. That’s why it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a neurologist
A Mighty Voice: Our contributor, Meghan Bayer, got personal with her grandmother’s Lewy body dementia in a one-on-one letter. “And dementia, mark my words, you may have taken her from me and my family physically, but as long as her legacy lives on, you didn’t win. Because unconditional love is stronger than any illness. People may expire, but memories are timeless.” You can submit your first-person story, too.
From Our Community:
Other things to know: Dealing with dementia is an intensely personal experience but one that benefits from community support. Read here how some others have negotiated life with the disease:
- Robin Williams’ Wife Breaks Silence on ‘Monster’ Disease He Was Battling
- The Lesson You’ve Taught Me, Daddy, as You Fight Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia
- 23 Things Loved Ones Want Others to Know About Lewy Body Dementia
How to take action: If you’ve noticed symptoms similar to those of dementia in yourself or a loved one contact your doctor for a neurological evaluation. Like all forms of dementia, Lewy body dementia benefits from early intervention and treatment.